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Crystal City Startup Aims to Make Turning Homes Into Energy Generators More Accessible

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Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

A Crystal City-based startup that works to integrate energy generated at home with the electrical grid is looking to scale up operations and create a better product, thanks to new some new funding.

Increasing adoption if electric vehicles and home solar panels have made houses a viable energy generator. Called distributed energy resources (DER), these community-generated energy sources create a two-way power flow and are generally renewable. ConnectDER, based out of Crystal City (2001 Richmond Highway), aims to make becoming a DER more accessible for homeowners.

The Simple ConnectDER is a collar that connects to a home’s circuit. Solar panels can be connected to the collar and the output moderated by the system, which operates parallel to the home’s utility grid.

According to the company website:

The Simple ConnectDER enables three key innovations in the DER installation process: it reduces the time that an electrician or utility representative must be onsite to interconnect the system to less than 10 minutes, it removes the need for installers to enter the residence (in the case of externally mounted electric meters), and it enables easy “swap-in” of future distributed generation resources as they are introduced to the market.  To date, over 5,000 ConnectDERs have been deployed to tie [solar photovoltaic] systems into the US electric grid.

The company also offers over versions of the connector with more advanced features, like an ethernet bridge and cloud accessibility.

ConnectDER recently closed on $7 million in financing.

“The growth of residential-scale DERs such as solar and storage presents an enormous challenge for utilities tasked with integrating them into the grid cost-effectively and with an outstanding customer experience,” Whitman Fulton, CEO of ConnectDER, said in a press release. “At ConnectDER, we’re delivering technologies that can connect and transform these traditionally unmanaged resources — solar, storage, and EV charging–into grid-supporting assets at a fraction of the cost of current practices.”

“This funding underscores the market recognition that ConnectDER offers what utilities need to maximize the value of residential-scale technologies for the 21st century,” Fulton added.

The company will use the new funding to scale up operations and its supply chain, the company said in the release. The company is also looking to enhance the energy storage of the collar. A new version of the ConnectDER device that launched last week.

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